Smart energy collaboration drives Thailand’s fast expanding e-bus market

Smart energy collaboration drives Thailand’s fast expanding e-bus market

Successful delivery of the first battery pack to the country’s largest bus operator.

Banpu NEXT, a leading APAC Smart Energy Solutions provider, and Durapower, a global leader in performance lithium battery storage solutions, have delivered the first battery pack to Cherdchai Motors Sales – the largest bus operator in Thailand.

The delivery marks the first significant milestone in propelling the e-bus market and heavy-duty vehicle industry forward within Thailand and APAC.

It stands as a testament to the successful collaboration between three industry leaders, all of whom share a vision for a sustainable future powered by electrified mobility and decarbonization.

Moreover, it signifies a crucial step in the establishment of Thailand’s DP NEXT battery assembly plant under DP NEXT – the joint venture (JV) company between Banpu NEXT and Durapower.

The APAC electric bus market size is estimated at US$44.74 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach US$73.88 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 10.55%, making the region the fastest growing and largest market for this industry.

The growth is being driven by transit organizations across various countries significantly promoting the adoption of electric buses for public transportation.

Thailand’s government has declared a roadmap anticipating 3,000 electric public buses in the country by 2025.

As of 2022, Thailand had more than 150,000 registered buses, with plans to replace up to 40,000 of these with electric buses over the next decade.

Upon completion and in full operation, the DP NEXT battery assembly plant in Amata City Chonburi will deliver products specifically engineered to facilitate fast charging with a high storage capacity, thereby optimizing the Driving range of Cherdchai’s e-Buses.

The first pack delivered to Cherdchai is a high-performance lithium NMC battery solution, which could allow the vehicle to be driven 300 kilometers on a single charge and takes a shorter time to recharge as compared to conventional lithium LFP battery technology.

These benefits are crucial for the bus operator to enhance service efficiency with the plant poised to meet the intensifying demand while contributing to the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) heavy-duty vehicles such as buses, trucks and heavy commercial vehicles to EVs throughout Thailand and APAC region.

Smittipon Srethapramote, CEO, Banpu NEXT, said: “The high adoption rate of EVs is boosting the demand for batteries in Thailand. The country’s battery market itself, valued at US$1.14 billion in 2022, is projected to reach US$4.01 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 17.0% from 2023 to 2030.

“Aiming to be the Net-Zero Solutions Provider for enterprises across the Asia-Pacific region, Banpu NEXT sees business opportunities that not only support Thailand’s ambition to emerge as an EV production hub but also contribute to the efforts to stem global climate change. This initial delivery signifies a major achievement in our ongoing partnership in which Banpu NEXT is spearheading market opportunities in Thailand.

“We are supplying batteries to Cherdchai Motor Sales, who aims to power approximately 100 electric buses by 2025, alongside providing expert technical advice and comprehensive after-sales services.”

Kelvin Lim, CEO, Durapower Group, said: “Leveraging our advanced technology and industry expertise, we are proud to deliver superior-quality battery systems that offer unparalleled discharge time, rapid-charging capabilities, lightweight designs, and the highest safety standards.

“Our commitment extends beyond mere production and assembly, as we are devoted to providing innovative battery technology and designing bespoke modules and packs tailored to diverse customer segments.

“As we forge ahead in our collaboration with Banpu NEXT and Cherdchai Motors Sales, we remain steadfast in our mission to deliver sustainable energy solutions to customers throughout Thailand and across the APAC region.”

Adisorn Cherdchai, Managing Director, Cherdchai Industrial Factory, said: “Cherdchai provides vehicles for transportation and traveling. To decarbonize and align our business with global energy trends, we are transitioning from ICE vehicles to electric buses. This move allows us to offer our customers superior, safer and more environmentally friendly services.

“We are also developing our own vehicles specifically designed to cover long distances. These vehicles are intended for our primary route from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok and are part of our e-bus production initiative to meet the growing demand for e-bus usage in Thailand. Batteries from the DP NEXT plant meet our technical and customized needs.

“The added value of having a team of local experts providing consultation and after-sales service offers us a high level of confidence in their batteries.

“The arrival of the first pack of lithium-ion batteries from Banpu NEXT and Durapower is a significant moment that supports the transition to electric buses and strengthens the commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Batteries from the DP NEXT plant will power Cherdchai Motors Sales’ electric buses operating on the main service route from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.

Future plans include utilizing these batteries in electric buses serving additional passenger routes. In addition to Cherdchai Motors Sales, Banpu NEXT is offering battery products from the DP NEXT plant to other heavy-duty commercial vehicles such as truck service providers, electric farm tractor manufacturers and electric boat producers – accelerating Thailand’s progress towards its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2065.

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